Board & Staff

Board of Directors

Cara Becker, Treasurer Cara graduated from Adelphi University with a degree in Business Administration. Before moving to the Berkshires, she worked as a Manager of Executive Training and Development for Lord & Taylor stores where she created and implemented Executive training programs for the company nationwide. Cara moved with her family to the Berkshires from Long Island and has since taken roles as Community Liaison for the town of Great Barrington and Executive Administrative Assistant to the Chief of Police. Cara has also participated in many task forces that focus on the betterment of the community she loves.

Anthony Blair, Clerk Tony has lived in the Berkshires since the mid-1980’s. He has been active in both non-profit organizations and town government. He has served on the Great Barrington Selectboard and Planning Board. He has also worked as Town Administrator for the Town of Becket. After practicing law in the areas of municipal law and real estate, he retired from law and worked in China for several years for NYU on the building of a campus in Shanghai. When he got back to the Berkshires, he started working as an Associate Broker with Stone House Properties in their Commercial/Industrial division and re-opened his law practice. He has previously served on the CDCSB Board of Directors, on the Board of Construct, and been a member of the Great Barrington Rotary Club. Tony holds a Masters in Social Work and a J.D. from Boston College.

Erik Bruun Erik is the President of SoCo Creamery and has served on the CDCSB Board of Directors previously. In his career, he has also led an investment company specializing in emerging markets and has been a reporter, editor and writer, publishing several books, including Our Nation’s Archive. He was the founding president of the Railroad Street Youth Project for ten years and has taken leadership roles in several community organizations.

Jeffrey Cohen Jeff Cohen is a real estate developer who has focused on commercial and residential development, urban mixed-use projects and public/private partnerships to develop properties in transitional neighborhoods, previously in Washington, DC, St. Paul, MN and Maine. He is currently developing the Eagle Mill in Lee, MA. He received his J.D. from Columbus School of Law/Catholic University of America and B.S. in Economics from Wharton School of Commerce and Finance/University of Pennsylvania. Jeff has previously served on the CDCSB Board and continues to serve a wide range of organizations in the community.

Cara Davis Cara is the former Executive Director of Construct, Inc. She retired in 2016 after 27 years working on behalf of low to moderate income households with housing and other basic needs. Cara is also an ordained minister with the Berkshire Association of the United Church of Christ. Cara serves on the Great Barrington Affordable Housing Trust Fund, the Unified Fitness Review Committee of the UCC Massachusetts Conference, and is moderator of First Congregational Church in Lee. Cara has lived in the southern Berkshires since 1972 and is a resident of Great Barrington since 2004.

Thomas Doyle Tom is a Broker Associate with Lance Vermeulen Real Estate Inc., as well as the Treasurer/Secretary on the Board of Berkshire Multiple Listing Service, Inc. He is the Managing Member of TOPA Enterprises, LLC, a real estate investment and development company. Tom joined the CDCSB Board in 2017.

Don Eaton is an account director at Toole Insurance Agency in Lee. Professionally, Eaton works with clients in the construction and other related sectors in Massachusetts and Eastern New York, and holds the Certified Insurance Counselor and Construction Risk Insurance Specialist designations. In his personal time, he has devoted many years to volunteerism and philanthropy and currently serves as a deacon for the Congregational Church in Stockbridge. Don has a keen interest in affordable housing and is dedicated to supporting small businesses. He joined the CDCSB Board with the intent to serve on the Economic Development subcommittees and working closely with the organization’s new Small Business Technical Assistance Program.

Joe Grachmal is a 2019 Harvard graduate and Great Barrington resident with a passion for municipal innovation and supporting small towns. In fact, Grachmal is currently developing a private municipal innovation company called Ulpian Labs, which will “engage the next generation of leaders to address crucial challenges facing small to mid-sized municipalities.” He is also a Lead America Hometown Fellow. Joe has a passion for all things sustainable and took an interest in the CDCSB’s mission of building affordable housing. With Joe’s experience, he will serve on the Board’s Marketing and Fundraising subcommittee and contribute to the work on developing affordable housing projects in the Berkshires.

Jim Harwood,  President Jim has practiced architecture for more than 20 years and is a graduate of Cornell University. In 2007, Jim moved from New York City to Lenox, Massachusetts where his office for J. Harwood Architect is now based. Jim has a history of designing responsible, energy efficient buildings in the challenging northeastern climate. He is a LEED accredited professional. Jim joined the board at CDCSB in 2010 because of his commitment to the creation of living wage jobs and affordable housing.

Robin Helfand Robin is the Owner and “Sweet Chief” of her eponymous Sweet Shop, Robin’s Candys, in Great Barrington. Before  opening her business in 2004, Robin and her three children lived in Germany and Australia. Robin  holds a BA/BS from Tufts and an MBA from Cornell. When not reacquainting customers with the joys of pixie stix & nik’l’nips, Robin is dedicated to building our community. She is a member of the Chamber of Commerce, the MA Retailers Association and the  Specialty Food Association. Robin currently shares her marketing background consulting with businesses  “pivoting” during the Pandemic.

Rufus Jones Rufus is the co-founder of the James Weldon Johnson Foundation. He has held roles as an educator, entrepreneur, musician, songwriter and Wall Street trader. He has held positions at Watermill Institutional Trading, SunTrust and Goldman Sachs. Previous to his career on Wall Street, Rufus worked as an educator and administrator in Chicago and New York City. A native of Memphis, TN, he holds an A.B. from Harvard University and received his M.B.A. from the University of Tennessee.

Richard Melluzo Richard was born in Hartford, CT and received his BS in psychology from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1974. Richard continued his education with an MA in counseling psychology from the University of Hartford in 1976 and an MS in Public Health with a specialty in Health Care Administration from Russell Sage College in 1984. He moved to Great Barrington in 1976 and served on the town’s Finance Committee for 2 years and as a Selectman for 11 years during that time. In 1991 he founded his private practice, RJM Counseling, in Great Barrington where he continues to provide counseling services to individuals, couples and families.

Rachel Moriarty Rachel is the Director of Operations at the Schumacher Center for a New Economics where she manages the organization so it can effectively house both its national and local programs. As the program coordinator of BerkShares local currency and part-time administrator for the Berkshire Community Land Trust, she helps implement the Schumacher Center’s practical applications of new economic thinking in the Berkshires. Rachel received her B.S. in Sustainable Agriculture from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Craig Okerstrom-Lang, RLA, ASLA Craig is President of Okerstrom Lang Ltd. Landscape Architects, established in 1990 in Great Barrington, MA.  The firm provides professional services for design, master planning and construction management in the tri-state region.  He has donated his time and expertise thru the years on many Berkshire County design projects.  He is a past member of the Great Barrington Parks Commission, Conservation Commission, Historic District Commission, founding member of the GB Design Advisory Committee.   He is currently a member of the Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce and since 1992, a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects.  Craig received a B.S. in Landscape Architecture from Michigan State University with honors.

Richard Stanley, Vice President Richard is owner and developer of the Triplex Cinema and has been involved in town projects and affordable housing projects, including the development of several condominium projects in Great Barrington with affordable home ownership. Taconic Parking lot was funded through a grant written by Richard and he helped found the CDCSB in the early 1990s, serving on the board at that time. We are pleased to have Richard back on the CDCSB board once again.

David Thorne David has been the owner of the Thornewood Inn in Great Barrington for more than three decades. With his wife, Terry, they transformed a neglected  Dutch Colonial home on the outskirts of Great Barrington into a successful Bed & Breakfast and restaurant. A talented musician, David can be found performing at the Inn for visitors and guests.

Staff

Emmalyn Gaertner, Manager of Finance and Operations Emmalyn joined CDCSB full-time in 2017. Emmalyn is a Berkshire native from Becket, MA. After graduating from high school she spent the next ten years living and studying in Washington, DC, New Mexico, Texas, and Spain. She studied Sociology and Spanish at American University in Washington, DC, worked in the education department at the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History in Albuquerque, and taught yoga. She lives in Great Barrington with her husband and children.

Allison Marchese, Executive Director Allison has over 25 years experience as a writer, marketing, communications, public relations and fundraising professional. Specializing in building new marketing and communications programs for companies and business, as well as building infrastructure, plans, and events for nonprofits. Allison published her first book in 2014 titled: The Hidden History of Columbia County. Her newest book, Hudson Valley Curiosities was published in August 2017.

Board of Directors

Cara Becker, Treasurer

Cara Becker graduated from Adelphi University with a degree in Business Administration. Before moving to the Berkshires, she worked as a Manager of Executive Training and Development for Lord & Taylor stores where she created and implemented Executive training programs for the company nationwide. Cara moved with her family to the Berkshires from Long Island and has since taken roles as Community Liaison for the town of Great Barrington and Executive Administrative Assistant to the Chief of Police. Cara has also participated in many task forces that focus on the betterment of the community she loves.

Cara Davis

Cara Davis is the former Executive Director of Construct, Inc. She retired in 2016 after 27 years working on behalf of low to moderate income households with housing and other basic needs. Cara is also an ordained minister with the Berkshire Association of the United Church of Christ. Cara serves on the Great Barrington Affordable Housing Trust Fund, the Unified Fitness Review Committee of the UCC Massachusetts Conference, and is moderator of First Congregational Church in Lee. Cara has lived in the southern Berkshires since 1972 and is a resident of Great Barrington since 2004.

Tom Doyle

Tom Doyle is a Broker Associate with Lance Vermeulen Real Estate Inc., as well as the Treasurer/Secretary on the Board of Berkshire Multiple Listing Service, Inc. He is the Managing Member of TOPA Enterprises, LLC, a real estate investment and development company. Tom joined the CDCSB Board in 2017.

Rona Easton, Clerk

Rona Easton is a licensed practicing architect who has worked and lived across the globe, and now resides in the Berkshires. She was born in Scotland, spent years in Europe, Hong Kong and New York, before moving to New Marlborough in 2014. Since moving here she has volunteered her services to the community, working with the Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity on their first high-performance new homes, and is a member of the New Marlborough Conservation Commission, overseeing developments under the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act.

Shep Evans

Shep Evans is the founder of FRIDAY & Co. Real Estate. As a “green” Realtor, he has balanced conservation interests and development pressures, maintaining daily involvement in the real estate marketplace, community affairs, municipal planning, and regional environmental regulation. As Conservation Commission Chairman in Stockbridge, Shep Evans led the inaugural effort to adopt and implement the Berkshire Scenic Mountains Act. As an amateur naturalist, he has blazed and maintained miles of trails and has certified dozens of wetland habitats of state-listed rare species. His depth of understanding of the local scene and the natural world around him, together with important hands-on experience in land use planning and regulatory issues, position him as a valued independent resource and advisor to public & private sector property owners and environmental interests. Shep is currently the Conservation Agent for Towns of Great Barrington and Richmond. Shepley has lived in the southern Berkshires since 1980 and is currently a resident of Great Barrington.

Jim Harwood, President

Jim Harwood has practiced architecture for more than 20 years and is a graduate of Cornell University. In 2007, Jim moved from New York City to Lenox, Massachusetts where his office for J. Harwood Architect is now based. Jim has a history of designing responsible, energy efficient buildings in the challenging northeastern climate. He is a LEED accredited professional. Jim joined the board at CDCSB in 2010 because of his commitment to the creation of living wage jobs and affordable housing.

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John Katz

John Katz co-founded and was a managing partner of a fund that made investments in middle market companies. Previously, he was at the AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company as a senior investment officer and also worked on private placements as a member of its law department. Before joining the Equitable, John practiced corporate and securities law in New York City, where he was also an assistant corporation counsel for New York City and a member of the mayor’s Committee on the Administration of Justice under Emergency Conditions.

John is a member of the Town of Great Barrington’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund Board, its Board of Assessors, and its Zoning Board of Appeals.  He is a director of Berkshire Playwrights Lab in Great Barrington. He is a former trustee of WMHT Educational Telecommunications in Troy, NY and continues on their investment committee. John was also a director of a series of mutual funds in Louisville, KY and a director of My Sisters’ Place, an organization for victims of domestic abuse in Westchester County, NY. John received an A.B. in economics from Harvard College and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.  He and his wife Laura live in Great Barrington and have four daughters and two grandchildren spread coast to coast.

Richard Melluzo

Richard Melluzo was born in Hartford, CT and received his BS in psychology from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1974. Richard continued his education with an MA in counseling psychology from the University of Hartford in 1976 and an MS in Public Health with a specialty in Health Care Administration from Russell Sage College in 1984. He moved to Great Barrington in 1976 and served on the town’s Finance Committee for 2 years and as a Selectman for 11 years during that time. In 1991 he founded his private practice, RJM Counseling, in Great Barrington where he continues to provide counseling services to individuals, couples and families.

Rachel Moriarty

Rachel Moriarty is the Director of Operations at the Schumacher Center for a New Economics where she manages the organization so it can effectively house both its national and local programs. As the program coordinator of BerkShares local currency and part-time administrator for the Berkshire Community Land Trust, she helps implement the Schumacher Center’s practical applications of new economic thinking in the Berkshires. Rachel received her B.S. in Sustainable Agriculture from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Peter Puciloski,

Peter Puciloski is the senior litigator for Lazan, Glover and Puciloski LLP in Boston, with offices in Great Barrington. He has appeared before numerous courts, boards and commissions on the federal, state and local level and handles both litigation and transactional matters, involving residential, commercial and development property; condominiums and land use regulation. Peter, a graduate of Harvard Law School, cum laude, and Boston College, magna cum laude, is the author of Real Estate Litigation. He has served on the Hingham Planning Board, the Hingham Historic District Commission and the Hingham Water Supply Company. Peter is a member of the Boston, Massachusetts and American Bar Associations, the Defense Research Institute and a former U.S. Navy Lieutenant. He returned to the CDC of South Berkshire Board of Directors in 2016.

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Richard Stanley Interim Executive Director

Richard Stanley is owner and developer of the Triplex Cinema and has been involved in town projects and affordable housing projects, including the development of several condominium projects in Great Barrington with affordable home ownership. Taconic Parking lot was funded through a grant written by Richard and he helped found the CDCSB in the early 1990s, serving on the board at that time. We are pleased to have Richard back on the CDCSB board once again.

Staff

Emmalyn Gaertner, Executive Assistant

Emmalyn joined CDCSB full-time in 2017. Emmalyn is a Berkshire native from Becket, MA. After graduating from high school she spent the next ten years living and studying in Washington, DC, New Mexico, Texas, and Spain. She studied Sociology and Spanish at American University in Washington, DC, worked in the education department at the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History in Albuquerque, and taught yoga. She lives in Great Barrington with her husband and children.

Gloria Escobar, Bookkeeper

Gloria has a bookkeeper at CDCSB since 2008. She has worked for non-profit financial institutions such as Greylock Federal Credit Union and is currently working as a manager at Hurlbut Employees Federal Credit Union. She has been on the Board of Directors of the Latino Festival in Lee, MA, for many years. As a bilingual, she teaches Spanish at BCC. Gloria lives in Great Barrington with her husband and three children. Image result for gloria escobar greylock

Allison Marchese,

Allison has over 25 years experience as a writer, marketing, communications, public relations and fundraising professional. Specializing in building new marketing and communications programs for companies and business, as well as building infrastructure, plans, and events for nonprofits. Allison published her first book in 2014 titled: The Hidden History of Columbia County. Her newest book, Hudson Valley Curiosities was published in August 2017. Image result for allison marchese

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